(BEDFORD) – In alignment with current federal, state and local guidance for social distancing and to ensure health safety of its employees, visitors and volunteers, the Hoosier National Forest has extended the temporary closure of all developed recreation sites and mandated a group-size limitation of 10 people or less per group across the entire forest effective today.
The following areas are ordered closed on the Hoosier National Forest:
- All Developed Campgrounds. Horse camps are open for the purpose of parking for access to trails only, no other day use or camping is permitted.
- All Developed Day Use Areas (including visitor centers, picnic areas, and historic sites), with the exception of trails, associated trailheads and their parking lots, and boat launches.
- Hickory Ridge Fire Tower
- All toilet facilities
Additionally, all groups larger than 10 people must split into smaller groups and recreate at least 200 yards apart.
Other recreation opportunities, such as fishing, dispersed camping, hiking, backpacking and backcountry camping on the Hoosier National Forest remain available to the public. To protect public health and safety, all visitors to the Forest are encouraged to:
- Avoid visiting the forest if you are sick and/or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
- Follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene and social distancing before and during your visit to the forest.
- Take your trash with you when you leave. Trash overflowing the receptacles becomes litter and can be harmful to wildlife and attract predators.
- Please make arrangements to use the restroom before or after your visit to the forest. Unmanaged waste creates a health hazard for our employees and for other visitors.
- If an area is crowded, please search for a less occupied location. Also, consider avoiding the forest during high-use periods.
- If taking part in dispersed camping, should you choose to have a campfire, please exercise absolute caution, keep the fire small, never leave It unattended, and drown the fire when done. Click here to learn more about campfire safety.
You cannot camp in the same dispersed or backcountry campsite on the Forest for more than 14 days in a 30 day period or more than 30 days total in a year.
The USDA Forest Service continues to assess and temporarily suspend access to recreation areas that attract large crowds and cannot meet social distancing guidelines recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Officials are urging all National Forest visitors to follow the guidance of the CDC and the Governor’s “stay at home” executive order. Though enforceable by fine or imprisonment, officials are appealing to the better nature of Forest users to voluntarily comply with these temporary restrictions to assist the nation in containing this virus and limiting its spread.
Hoosier National Forest employees continue to work during this event, but regular services must be limited, or provided in a different manner, in order to protect the health and safety of our employees and of the public who makes use of these public lands.
Visitors to national forests are urged to take the precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). For tips from the CDC on preventing illnesses like the coronavirus, click here. Information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture is available here.
For up-to-date information on the Hoosier National Forest, click here.